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When your kids hear that a meal is good for them, they’re more likely to give you trouble when it comes time to eat. One of the tricks to getting kids to eat healthy is to make it fun for them to eat. You should also let them make some choices for themselves. Use fresh ingredients so that the colors of the finished dishes are brighter and more appetizing for the kids.
Simple Stir Fry
Choose a lean meat. Chicken is quite popular but there are lean cuts of beef (if you don’t eat pork like me) that are also okay to use. Let your children pick three vegetables to be included in the dish, and you surprise them with two of your own. Cook everything together in one pan, but make sure the veggies are still bright and slightly crunchy.
- Sugar snap peas
- Multi-colored bell peppers
- Vidalia onions
Serve this with rice or with a side of fruit. If you use soy sauce in your stir-fry, make sure it is a reduced sodium option. Avoid bottled sauces as those contain preservatives and have higher sodium and sugar counts.
Tacos can be healthy when you make them yourself and use a leaner meat like turkey. The seasoning that you use should be a low-sodium option if you are not making your own taco seasoning. Make it a rule that every taco has to have three different vegetables on it to help get your kids to try new foods and eat healthy. If you prefer to use a full-sodium seasoning, only use half and include ¼-cup natural salsa in place of the rest of the seasoning.
- Black olives
- Vidalia onions
- Grape tomatoes (they are sweeter, making them more kid-friendly)
- Black beans
- Roasted sweet corn
- Jalapenos for those that like spicy foods
For the cheese and sour cream portions, use natural options. Using full-fat sour cream is okay because most children are turned off by the taste of reduced fat or light sour cream.
Creamy Pesto Chicken Wrap
Multigrain wraps with a simple fruit salad are a great weeknight meal. Most grocery stores have multigrain wraps in the bakery department. Cut fresh chicken breast into strips and sauté with Italian seasoning, fresh parsley, fresh basil, fresh garlic, and a little olive oil to help things move around. Cook the chicken through and let it cool.
Make a smear for the wraps, to act as the glue. Use HamptonCreek garlic and chipotle mayonnaise for the creamy factor in your pesto. You only need about 1 tablespoon to add texture, flavor, and a little touch of heat to your pesto.
Lay your wraps out and assemble them starting with the smear of creamy pesto sauce. Then, add your desired vegetables and a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese. Lay in some chicken and roll the wraps up tight. Slice diagonally so it looks pretty to them.
Make Your Own Salad
Kids will eat salad if you let them make the choice of what goes in it. Instead of using a bottled dressing, make your own at home. You can make a great homemade buttermilk ranch type dressing or a great vinaigrette to dress the salads.
Salad ingredient ideas:
- Sweet raw peas
- Grape tomatoes
- Raw broccoli
- Goldfish crackers
- Black olives
- Hardboiled eggs
- Baby carrots
Make it a rule that at least 5 vegetables need to be in each salad. Place bowls of salad toppings on the dinner table and start each person out with a bed of mixed greens. Pass each bowl around the table and keep track of which children have the right number of vegetables.
Make sure you dress the salad; you want them to taste their food and not just the dressing. Along with the vegetables, include a few crunch things to choose from like sunflower seeds, chopped peanuts, or croutons. They should also have two lean proteins to choose from along with a natural cheese.
A Few Last Tips
The more involved with meal choices you allow your children to be, the more foods you will get them to at least try. Kids are more likely to eat food they helped make. The goal is to expose your children to more healthy options now so that they adopt healthy eating habits and carry on with healthy eating as adults. Kids think healthy doesn’t taste good, these tips will help you challenge their minds and prove them wrong.
How do you get your kids to eat healthy foods?